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Neil Krolicki's picture

Poachers

By Neil Krolicki in Arrest Us

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Once you have read this story, please make sure you rate it by clicking the thumbs above. Then take a few minutes to give the author a helpful critique! We're all here for fun but let's try to help each other too.

Description

Two amatuer Mary Jane growers look to expand their operation by robbing one of Denver's biggest marijuana dispensary owners. 

Your detailed feedback is appreciated and please don't forget to hit the 'thumbs up' icon if you enjoy this story. 

Many thanks,

NK

Comments

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch June 29, 2014 - 6:05am

Neil,

I think this story has a lot of potential. You have some really good turns of phrases sprinkled through it, and the conceit, while simple ends up being very appealing in lots of ways.

Straight off the bat, I really enjoyed a lot of the the knowledge that the main character has about growing weed. It's not something I'm familiar with at all, so that information wa very entertaining to me.

I also like a lot of the description you have. You have an awesome frst sentence that grabs the reader right off the bat. I would make the suggestion to maybe cut back on some of the descriptions, as a couple didn't really work for me, and they dilute the really strong ones. For example I didnt think the second sentence--"his eyes are blueberry bagels..." seemed a little bit forced.

The description of him piloting a meat canvass didn't really work for me, and every time it came up I found I had to force myself to not skip through it. Again, to me it felt too forced, while there are other bits in the story- like the main character's relationship to his brother, Jeremy's quirk about wanting fancy food when he's high, and his freezing up--all those are great, vivid details that feel like they come out naturally in the story.

The main reason the story didn't work for me all the way is because of the way you have it structured. I can see the appeal of having the story focused so tightly within the character's head, but the way you have it set it up, it's ocassionally confusing as you flip back and forth through different timelines.

To me, the tension comes really late in the story, and it's a shame because when it does come, coupled with the end of the story, it works really well. I quite enjoyed the ending itself, and with the idea that this story really isn't over, that t'l be over depending on who gets up first. My suggestion is either put the story in chronological order--meaning you start with Jeremy and the main character devising the plan and go from there, or remove at least one of the flashback. Keep the one where they decide on the plan, but remove the one where it flashes back to their assault on King Kush.

I hope this doesn't come off sounding too negative. I liked the writing and a lot of the story. Hope you find something useful, and disregard the rest.

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To June 29, 2014 - 6:15am

Appreciate all the time you put into your thoughtful feedback, Hector - thank you. 

NK

Damon Lytton's picture
Damon Lytton from Augusta, Kansas is reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow June 29, 2014 - 8:10pm

Hey Neil,

I really liked your story.  I think you've written a main character that has a very distinct voice and it never feels like you lose track of that.  While for me it really worked, for some it might seem a bit too technical in spots and you might lose some of your audience in those descriptions.  But like I said it worked for me.

In terms of tension, I think you've got it there from the beginning.  Once you get to the first flashback, it becomes obvious that the MC is normally in complete control of his faculties and his state of mind at King Kush's is impaired in some way.  The stream-of-conciousness works extremely well in this piece for me because of my experience with marijuana.  The seperation of body and mind you describe is exactly how I feel when I'm high - which is why I no longer partake - and the description of a pilot sending messages to meat hands is as good a description as any.

The main reason this perspective works for me is because it feels like you have a thought process behind it.  It jumps around but I think that's what it should do; we're seeing this moment through the MC's eyes and, by extension, thinking everything he thinks.  A big problem I have with stories that are structurally disjointed is that they often don't have a reason to be that way other than the author liked the gimmick.  But here, the 'wet' blunt is the perfect motivation to jump around in time and I very much enjoyed it.

Keep up the good work.

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To June 29, 2014 - 8:08pm

Hey Damon - really kind words, man, thanks so much. I agree with you about stories being disjointed for disjointed's sake and you made my night pointing out that there's a motivation to the erratic narration here. I'd really hoped that came across. Appreciate your time reading this and for the thoughtful feedback. 

Best - NK

Turtlethumbs's picture
Turtlethumbs June 30, 2014 - 2:32pm



Neil,

I think you're an incredible writer and frankly I'm jealous of how much you're able to cram into such small spaces. But it didn't work for me mainly because I found it to be too much and too fast. I feel I've been sucked into a situation I don't understand and I want to understand it, but at a slower pace that sees me where I am. I'm sure there are others who are on this level and will enjoy the speed and intensity of the storytelling but it was too much for me.

But like I said, you're incredibly skilled. So obviously - keep it up!

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To June 30, 2014 - 3:06pm

Hey Max, no feelings hurt - thanks for taking the time to read and for the feedback.

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK July 2, 2014 - 4:12am

This was dark and thick with prose, relentlessly paced, and trippy as hell, and I really enjoyed it. It took me a little while to adjust to your writing style but it was worth it, and the ambiguous nature of the unreliable narrator was great, particularly at the end. Nice work.

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To July 2, 2014 - 6:11am

Hey Seb, appreciate the reciprocation on the critique and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Cheers, NK

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life July 3, 2014 - 1:52pm

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DOUBLESPACE!!!

That aside, I really enjoyed this story. It was well told and assured and it is evident you know what you're doing. Unlike some of the other readers, I thought the structure was great. It elevated the story on a technical level and I found it much more engaging than if you had told it chronologically. It also works for the story, creatively.

I liked the research/detail you put into the story as well. It gave the narrator an authoritative voice that helped flesh out his character.

I definitely get a Palahniuk vibe, at least stylistically. (I feel like you've read some of his writing essays?) That's not a bad thing. Just something to be aware of, because other people will be, too. Take what you've learned and run with it. It makes a great foundation.

Like Hector, I felt the one-two punch of the iceberg teeth and blueberry bagel eyes was a little over-written, but then I was sucked into the story and your descriptions weren't an issue for me. I also disagree with him about the whole meat-bag metaphor. That stuff worked great.

I really don't have much negative to say. This is a solid, well written story. I hope it does well. Good luck!

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To July 3, 2014 - 3:27pm

Thanks for giving me a read, Joshua - and thanks a ton for all the kind words, I'm glad the structure was a positive for you. I knew it was funky but it's releaving to hear when it works like I'd hoped.  Guilty as charged regarding the Palahniuk essays, I'm an unabashed disciple. Really appreciate you taking the time for the thoughtful feedback, man. Cheers!

big_old_dave's picture
big_old_dave from Watford, about 20 miles outside London, Uk July 7, 2014 - 12:58pm

Hi Neil, just returning your review,

I liked your story, you got the voice spot on and there is a really intresting relationship between the two robbers, here are a few things that stood out for me : -

Alright, pop quiz! The donkey kong barrels chained to the ceiling, you see them? What are they? C'mon you know this.

This section confused me a little when the monaloge flipped into an internal dilogue. Using the internal monlouge to describe grow room workewd really well but this line right at the start made mw think it was dialouge that had not been marked out as such so i was flipping backwards and forwards a bit for a few seconds here.

The actuall room descripton did drag on a bit, I do like the research and the detail but I was after some more action to drive the story forward instead of two pages of descriptions.

entrepreneur ganja buddies, we're they're biggest problem.
Poachers

 If this was the case would there be more than one people in the house\farm? - . At the moment King Kush is amubush on the way in, an operation that large must take more than one person to manage?

Your physical descriptions through out shine through, on the body descriptons of the beatings going down on King Kush as well as the PCP trip out of the main character worked really well, As soon as he mentioned bug my mind instantly flipped over in Philip K Dick's Scanner Darkly and Clevenger's Dermaphoria. Really good stuff.

A thumbs up from me, 

 

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To July 7, 2014 - 3:02pm

Hey Dave - really appreciate you stopping by and taking time to give this such a thurough read. You've got a lot of great points here, man, extremely helpful stuff. I'll definitely have your input in mind with the re-write. 

Best,

NK

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 8, 2014 - 2:31pm

Overall I liked this. It's a nicely played out disasterous plan, with a consistent voice, and a couple of good, compelling characters.

I did have a few issues though. The opening is good, and what you do is immediately build tension. It's so wonderfully tense for the first two pages. The conflict is there, there are stakes involved, and I loved the use of the cook's blowtorch (also loved the character's cooking background). Then you go into the disconnected narrative, with meat hands and skull pilots, and it completely takes the tension away.  

I have to confess that the meat hands / skull pilot bits didn't work well for me, and nor did the detailed commentary on weed growth. The latter is interesting, and it seems to me you know what you are talking about, but I didn't feel it aided the story - quite the opposite in fact. I want to get back to the two guys robbing King Kush, because that is where the conflict and tension is. The ending is surreal but good. I just think that middle third lacks the same quality.

Best of luck with this one.

 

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To July 8, 2014 - 8:58pm

Hey Adam, thanks for read and for the thoughtful comments. What you're describing is pretty much what I was going for, building the tension then delaying the reader's gratification on the conflict resolution - some people dig it, some don't. Always interesting to see how the varieties on opinions shake out in the workshop process. Thanks again.

NK

Aud Fontaine's picture
Aud Fontaine from the mountains is reading Catch-22. Since like, always. July 19, 2014 - 1:37pm

Neil,

Alright, I feel like if I knew how to go about something like that, this would be an opportune time to take a poll of how many people here have ever accidentally smoked 'wet'. I have and as an exceptionally light drug user (only pot, only on occasion) I can tell you it's fucking terrifying. I went from thinking weed was this harmless little plant that gives you a neat li'l buzz to literally trying to claw my way out of my own body. And by literally I mean fucking literally. That's your tension, man. I feel like if you gave us a little less backstory on the making of weed and honed in on this guy tripping balls on PCP you'd have a much stronger, much tenser, much more frightening story. The parts you do have, I think are wonderful. The whole outerspace, skull pilot, slipping back and forth through time things are spot on. I remember all of those things happening and I felt that gave an added dimension to your story that, personally, was really gratifying. Obviously, everyone's PCP experience is going to be different but for me it was one of the scariest things to ever happen to me. I literally thought I was going to be trapped in my own nightmare brain. And again, literally means literally here because on supergrass everything, no matter how surreal, is fucking literal. I think if the wet became your primary focus and the robbery more of a complication then it would be way more engaging because then people would be wondering what the hell is wrong with this guy and the reveal "Oh! It was PCP all along!" would be a nice climax leading into a denoument where we find out just how wrong a burglary goes when you're high as fuck on angel dust.

Overall though, this is still a really great story, I enjoyed it immensely. Take or leave my comments, you clearly know what you're doing. 

Aud.

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To July 20, 2014 - 2:45pm

Hey Aud, 

I think that'd be a hilarious poll and I'd be really interested to see the results myself. Really appreciate your candor about your 'wet' experience and I'm right there with you - it's a total nightmare.  There really is this sense of being disconnected from your body and a dread that you might NEVER regain control - the 'skull pilot' asides are my personal take but you're right, everyone's bad experience will be their own.  Lots of great plotting notes here, so big thanks for your time & input.  

Best - NK

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 20, 2014 - 6:33am

Hi Neil,

Thumbs up. Reads well and plausible, (to one who knows very little about it all) and the most difficult bit to do - describing all this through drug addled brains - is done plenty well enough for me. (And having him lecture himself is a most splendid way of telling us stuff we don't know - info dumping without the pain) Good work. Even like the gourmet aspect of his brother, a nice detail to hang his character on, dick though he is. Few small-ish observations.

making a sharp blue blade of fire in a quick puff - this is two different shapes of flame, the ball that is the escaped gas that will singe hairs, and the blow torch business end - which often requires a tune of the air inlet before it is a blade. I get the idea, but it distracts me because it doesn't seem right.

Does Jeremy use the blowtorch on "King Kush" before, after, or during the typing of the code? Unclear to me. And while singed hairs may provoke obediance, actual burnt skin is unlikely to have him able to do anything for a while.

It's my farm. Almost exactly. - it's not his farm.

Gathering up the torn out plants into a black trash bag, - more than one bag, I'd assume?

As for the ending, perfectly done. You really don't need to do any more than this, "reboot" indeed.

If I have any complaint about the set up, it feels like the masks should hinder more. You don't have clear sight through them, your breathing is constricted. It's why I imagine stockings are more favoured than masks...

Oh, and to be clear, these young ladies are still harvestable? Presumably not optimal though, otherwise they'd never get their autumn, right? 

Well done.

Liam

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To July 20, 2014 - 2:55pm

Hi Liam, 

Super glad the story read well to you & had some entertainment value.  Your comments cut deep because they echo some of my own concerns & some from the 'inner circle' folks I had read this before submitting. You caught some things that definitely need some smoothing over or some detail added, signs that you really read this sucker with a close eye so I'm extermely grateful for that. Appreciate your time & thoughtful comments. 

P.S. - Yes, you're right the plants would still be harvestable even yanked out of their reservoirs early - but it's really unlikely their yeild will be terrific after the trauma. Snagging the plants in such a half-assed way is just another way to show how amatuer these guys are - there's a right way to do it, but throwing 'em in trash bags ain't it - hah! Thanks again. 

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 21, 2014 - 8:00pm

Great story. It seems that you put a lot of effort into researching specific things about growing and kept those parts of the story interesting without going too far into the scientific aspects. I was concerned with this becoming a stereotypical stoner tale, but you developed your characters very well.You have a strong voice and I enjoyed the way your character unraveled the story while talking himself down.  The story hit me hard with action right off the bat, but it does drop off rather quickly to make room for back story. Overall nice job. Good luck.

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To July 24, 2014 - 10:34am

Hey Cmangano - thanks for the kind words. Trying to balance the 'weed growing info' authority was something I was concerned about so I'm glad it didn't seem too heavy handed for you.  I agree it'd be nice to maintain the momentum of the opening action longer, it's something I'm definitely thinking about on the rewrite. Thanks for your time & input!

Best - NK